Music Adjunct (Accompanist)
Office/Department: Music, Department of
Location: Bangsberg Hall 325
Phone: (218) 755-2918
Box #: 16
Eric Gustafson is an accomplished, seasoned veteran of the world of music performance. He is a professional pianist, conductor, music director, organist, and chorister. He began his musical training at the age of 3. By the age of 18 he had performed numerous piano recitals and three major Romantic piano concertos. Mr. Gustafson earned a bachelor’s degree in music history from the University of Illinois and subsequently spent a year on a Fulbright Fellowship in Vienna, Austria, where he studied musicology, piano performance and conducting. The following year he earned a Master of Music degree in orchestral and choral conducting from Cincinnati College-Conservatory. While there, he had the good fortune to work (over the long term) with Thomas Schippers, and (over a short term) with Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, and Robert Shaw. Since graduating from Cincinnati, Mr. Gustafson has worked in professional dinner theater and summer-stock theater, where he has collaborated with singers from the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Broadway. His own performance career has included dozens of recitals (solo and duo), concert performances (notably all four major works by Gershwin for a six -week revue), and several international amateur piano competitions (notably Cliburn, Concours [Pairs Conservatory], and WIPAC [Washington, DC]); most recently he was awarded Third Place at WIPAC. Mr. Gustafson’s latest endeavors have been in the development of tis jazz ensemble (Jazz Atavist). JA was formed in 2011 with the mission of recreating actual performances by legendary jazz pianists (E.J., Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum). Having moved in August of 2013 from Washington DC, Gustafson have reconstituted his original group, incorporating talented performers from the Bemidji area. His list of careers includes: Assistant to the director of NASM (University Music Department accrediting association), Musical Theater Music Director, Encyclopedia Editor, Applications Designer and Developer for GE (18years), (PHD candidate, lecturer, web developer), Church Music Director and Organist (overall 40 years), Church Administrator (10 years). He lived for 40 years in the Washington DC area, maintaining a second life as a performing pianist in recital, competitive, duo, concerto, and jazz ensemble context. In just a few years in Bemidji, Eric has become thoroughly engaged in the musical life of the city and University.